About Fountain Hills Sister Cities
What Exactly is FHSC?
The Fountain Hills Sister Cities (FHSC) is a community-based 501(c)3 organization providing opportunities for the people of our area to develop relationships through volunteers who reach out to interact with citizens of our Sister Cities. Fountain Hills Sister Cities is member of SCI (Sister Cities International).
“FHSC is proud to build international friendships and goodwill, by promoting youth, cultural, educational, and humanitarian activities with our partner cities”
In this way, FHSC carries on the tradition and vision of the Sister Cities movement established by its founder, President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.
What is the History of FHSC?
Fountain Hills Sister Cities stemmed from an idea Fountain Hills Times then-Publisher Alan Cruikshank suggested to newly-elected Mayor Jerry Miles in 1996.
Cruikshank had become familiar with the sister cities concept when he was president of Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce in the 1980s. After learning about a city he thought would be a good match in Australia, he also learned that a community had to be incorporated as a town or city to be part of the Sister Cities International program. The city of Fountain Hills would become incorporated as a non-profit in 1989.
After Miles took office in 1996, he called Cruikshank and asked him if he would head a Sister Cities committee. Under the auspices of the Civic Association (now the Cultural and Civic Association), a committee was formed.
While the committee first reached out to the city in Australia, it would have nothing to do with Fountain Hills. In what took another year to search for a candidate, Fountain Hills formed a partnership with Kasterlee, Belgium.
A contingent of Fountain Hills residents, including Jerry and Jackie Miles, Vice Mayor Marianne Wiggishoff and her husband, Cyril, Bob and Phyllis Horan and Cruikshank, traveled to Kasterlee to meet with then-Mayor Walter Otten. The letter of intent to form a Sister Cities relationship was signed May 31, 1998. Kasterlee became the first official Sister City in 2000.
That established the mission of Fountain Hills Sister Cities Corporation to “provide opportunities for the people of our area to develop relationships through volunteers who reach out to interact with citizens of our Sister Cities.
Since that time, the Fountain Hills Sister Cities added three additional sister cities: Dierdorf Germany, Ataco El Salvador and Zamosc Poland. Kasterlee Belgium has unfortunately been removed from the list due to a mismatch in the two group’s abilities to support the original partnership agreement. The FHSC team is now considering a replacement sister city.